Delicious Vegetarian Jollof Rice Recipe for a Sumptuous Meal

Welcome, foodies! Today, I’m thrilled to present to you my vegan take on a classic West African dish – vegetarian jollof rice. Jollof rice is an iconic dish in West Africa, commonly served at parties and gatherings. Now you can enjoy this flavorful dish with your loved ones without worrying about any meat or animal products in it.

This dish is popular for a reason! It’s a one-pot meal that is incredibly versatile and can be enjoyed any time of the day. Our vegan version is full of delicious vegetables such as carrots, peppers, onions, garlic cloves, mushrooms, and frozen green peas mixed with spices like thyme, turmeric, cayenne pepper to make the perfect vegetarian jollof rice.

While traditional Jollof rice usually contains beef or chicken stock, we have replaced those with vegetable stock to keep our recipe fully vegan. I firmly believe that vegan food shouldn’t compromise on taste and texture. This recipe proves just that!

So get ready to tantalize your taste buds with this authentic and updated vegan twist on jollof rice. Let’s get cooking!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Vegetarian Jollof Rice
Vegetarian Jollof Rice

If you are looking for a vegan twist on the classic African dish, Jollof Rice, this recipe is for you. This vegetarian version of the dish is every bit as tasty as its meaty counterpart while being healthier and more environmentally friendly.

Made with brown rice, vegetables including chopped tomatoes, carrots, mushrooms, and green peppers, this vegan jollof rice recipe infuses a medley of flavors that will leave your taste buds savoring every bite. The perfect blend of herbs and spices such as thyme, turmeric, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder will take the dish to an entirely new level of food paradise.

With each bite you’ll taste the unique combination of ginger garlic paste and cumin seeds that elevate this vegan jollof rice into a culinary masterpiece. The addition of frozen green peas gives it a refreshingly sweet taste that’s sure to amaze your guests at your next dinner party.

What makes this recipe even better is that it only requires one pot! That means you won’t have to endure long hours in the kitchen or deal with endless dishes after cooking.

Whether you are looking for a nutritious meal for yourself or a crowd-pleasing recipe for family and friends, look no further than this vegan Jollof Rice. So why not try out this vegetable Jollof recipe today? You won’t regret it!

Ingredient List

 The aroma of this vegetarian Jollof rice is absolutely divine!
The aroma of this vegetarian Jollof rice is absolutely divine!

To prepare this Vegetarian Jollof Rice Recipe, we will need the following ingredients:

Base Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of brown rice (use basmati rice as a substitute)
  • 2 medium-sized diced onions (red or yellow onion)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil (you can use any oil of your choice)
  • 2 cups of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup of tomato paste
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 2 medium-sized diced carrots

Spices and Seasoning:

  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Salt to taste

Optional add-ins:

  • Frozen green pea for extra color
  • Chopped mushrooms for extra richness
  • Chopped cilantro or parsley for herb flavor

These quantities serve around six people, but you can adjust them according to your preferences. The ingredients in this nutrient-dense vegan recipe are accessible and relatively inexpensive. You’ll find many of them locally or at your preferred grocery store.

The Recipe How-To

 This dish is full of flavor and packed with nutrition.
This dish is full of flavor and packed with nutrition.

Now for the main event, here is how to make vegetarian jollof rice that is sure to impress your taste buds and leave you feeling satisfied.

Step 1: Prepare the Vegetables

Start by washing and chopping 2 medium red bell peppers, 1 large onion, 2 garlic cloves, 2 carrots, and 1 green pepper into small pieces. Set aside.

Step 2: Preheat the Pan and Add Oil

In a large pot, heat up 3-4 tablespoons of oil of your choice over medium-high heat. You can use either vegetable oil or olive oil, though I recommend using vegetable oil as it has a higher smoke point, which means it can tolerate higher heat without burning.

Step 3: Toast the Spices

Add in 1 teaspoon of dried thyme, 1 tablespoon of ground ginger, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper, and ½ teaspoon of turmeric. Stir well, ensuring the spices don’t burn to the bottom.

Step 4: Add in Chopped Vegetables

Once you start smelling the aroma of the spices, add in the chopped vegetables, along with 1 can of tomato paste (6 oz), 1 can of chopped tomatoes (14 oz), and a small handful of chopped cilantro and parsley. Stir continuously until everything is mixed well.

Step 5: Pour in Rice and Liquid

Pour in 3 cups of water or vegetable broth, followed by 3 cups of brown rice (rinsed), ensuring there’s enough liquid to cover the rice. Now give everything a good stir. Add more water/vegetable broth if necessary to ensure evenly cooked rice.

Step 6: Reduce Heat and Cover Pot

Reduce the heat to low-medium so that everything is on a gentle simmer. Place a lid on the pot tightly, ensuring no steam leaks out.

Step 7: Add Frozen Peas and Mushrooms

After around ten minutes or when most water has been absorbed by the rice, add some frozen green peas and sliced mushrooms on top. Let it sit for another 15-20 minutes until all liquid is absorbed- this will depend on how long it takes your rice to cook.

Step 8: Garnish and Serve

Finally, turn off the heat when all liquid has been absorbed by the rice grains- also ensure that your rice is not just cooked but fluffy. Garnish with extra cilantro and parsley to elevate its aroma even further or add some scotch bonnet pepper sauce for some extra heat.

That’s it! Your Nigerian-inspired vegetarian jollof rice recipe is now complete!

Substitutions and Variations

 Get ready to experience a taste of West Africa with every forkful of this vegetarian Jollof rice!
Get ready to experience a taste of West Africa with every forkful of this vegetarian Jollof rice!

This vegetarian Jollof Rice recipe is incredibly versatile, allowing you to add or switch up ingredients to suit your taste or dietary needs. Here are some ideas for substitutions and variations:

– Rice: Brown rice can be swapped out for basmati rice or any other long-grain rice of your choice. Alternatively, you can use a mix of grains such as quinoa, barley, or farro for added texture and flavor.

– Vegetables: You can use a variety of vegetables in this dish. Carrots and mushrooms can be replaced with diced sweet potatoes, butternut squash, or eggplant. Feel free to add bell peppers, frozen peas, or fresh spinach leaves for a pop of color and extra nutrition.

– Spices: If you don’t have fresh thyme on hand, you can use dried thyme instead. You can also skip cayenne pepper and use smoked paprika for a milder heat. For an updated vegan recipe, substitute the meat stock with vegetable stock made from scratch to enhance the flavors of the spices.

– Tomato-based sauce: A mixture of tomato paste and chopped tomatoes forms the base of this flavorful sauce. If you don’t have tomato paste or canned tomatoes at home, simply grate fresh tomatoes and cook them down into a thick sauce.

– Garnish: No Jollof rice is complete without some freshly chopped cilantro or parsley on top! You could also use scallions or fried onions for added crunch.

Remember that the possibilities are endless when it comes to creating variations of this dish! Don’t be afraid to experiment with different flavor combinations and find what works best for you.

Serving and Pairing

 The beautiful colors in this dish come from a blend of fragrant spices and fresh vegetables.
The beautiful colors in this dish come from a blend of fragrant spices and fresh vegetables.


One of the great things about this vegan Jollof rice recipe is that it’s so versatile when it comes to serving and pairing. You can eat it as a main dish and enjoy its wonderful flavors all by itself, or you can serve it as a side dish with other dishes of your choice.

For example, if you’re looking for a quick and easy weeknight dinner, you can simply spoon some of this delicious vegan Jollof rice into a bowl and top it off with some crispy fried plantains for an extra element of flavor and texture. It’s also a perfect option for sharing at parties or potlucks, especially since it’s so easy to make in large batches!

When it comes to pairing this lovely vegan Jollof Rice, there are many different options depending on your preference. Some delicious pairings could include roasted vegetables like sweet potatoes or cauliflower; green salads with fresh herbs like cilantro or parsley; or some sautéed mushrooms for added richness and depth.

Finally, I recommend adding an extra sprinkle of fresh herbs like cilantro, parsley or thyme on top of the rice just before serving to give more freshness and brightness to the dish. No matter how you choose to serve this vegan Jollof rice recipe, I guarantee it will be a crowd-pleaser!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 One bite of this Jollof rice and you'll feel like you're in Accra, Lagos, or Dakar.
One bite of this Jollof rice and you’ll feel like you’re in Accra, Lagos, or Dakar.

When it comes to meal prep, this vegetarian jollof rice recipe is a dream. You can easily make it ahead of time to save you the trouble of cooking from scratch every day. It’s also a great dish for leftovers and reheating. Here’s how to do it:


You can keep this rice dish in your fridge for up to four days. Just cover it tightly with a lid or cling film before storing it. If you’re planning to make it for a party or an event, you can prepare it a day or two ahead of time and store in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.


To avoid sogginess, transfer the rice into shallow containers for storage and place them in the fridge right away after cooling. This will ensure that they cool down evenly and quickly. When you’re ready to reheat, add a splash of water or broth as necessary before heating it up.


Microwave: Transfer the desired portion of the rice into a microwave-safe bowl or plate, sprinkle some water on top, then mix gently and cover with a microwave-safe lid or cling film. Next, heat for one minute intervals, stirring after each interval until heated through.

Stovetop: To reheat on the stove, put the rice in a non-stick pan with some oil and heat over low-medium heat while constantly stirring until heated through, adding some broth or water if necessary.

You can also spruce up your leftover jollof rice by adding some fresh cilantro, parsley or any greens of your choice as well as fried plantains or any other veggies lying around in your pantry.


Tips for Perfect Results

 The secret to this deeply satisfying dish? The perfect balance of sweet, savory, and spicy ingredients.
The secret to this deeply satisfying dish? The perfect balance of sweet, savory, and spicy ingredients.

As a vegan chef, I’m always looking for ways to perfect recipes and enhance the overall cooking experience. Here are some tips to ensure your vegetarian Jollof rice turns out perfectly every time.

First, choose high-quality ingredients. This includes fresh vegetables like onions, garlic, carrots, bell peppers, and mushrooms. Opt for colorful bell peppers if you can because they add sweetness and vibrancy to the dish.

Next, use brown rice instead of white rice for a healthier option. Brown rice has a nutty flavor and chewier texture that pairs perfectly with the other ingredients in this recipe.

Don’t forget about the spices. The combination of thyme, ginger, garlic, turmeric, cayenne pepper adds depth and complexity to the dish. Be sure to measure your spices precisely for an authentic West African flavor.

When building the base of your Jollof sauce with tomato paste and chopped tomatoes make sure it cooks down until you get a deep red color and an oil sheen on top indicating that it’s well-cooked. This is the key to getting good results with jollof dishes.

While cooking your Jollof rice in one pot feel free to reduce heat as result will be amazing if cooked for a long time at low heat bringing harmony to each ingredient in that pot.

Finally, garnish your finished vegetarian Jollof rice with cilantro or parsley for a fresh pop of color and flavor. And why not pair it with fried plantains or even beef stew…if you are so inclined?

These tips will take your vegetarian Jollof rice game to the next level!


Now that you’ve learned the ins and outs of making a delicious vegetarian jollof rice dish, you might have some lingering questions. Luckily, we’ve got the answers you need in this FAQ section. Keep reading to address any concerns or uncertainties you might have about this recipe, including ingredient substitutions and storing recommendations.

What is the secret ingredient in jollof rice?

When aiming to achieve the classic reddish-orange hue of Jollof rice, tomato paste is the key ingredient. To prepare a serving for three, gather three red bell peppers, two small tomatoes, and approximately 70 grams of tomato paste.

Is Nigerian jollof rice healthy?

When it comes to nutrition, jollof rice can be a decent source of protein without adding too many calories or fat to your diet. It’s essential to keep in mind that consuming the same dish every day for a long time may not be suitable for your health in the long run.

What is the best spice for jollof rice?

For this recipe, we will need a variety of spices to give it a bold and flavorful taste. Turmeric will add a warm and earthy flavor, while nutmeg will provide a slightly sweet and nutty taste. We’ll also be using paprika powder for a subtle smoky flavor. In addition to thyme, which is a great herb, we will also be incorporating oregano and bay leaf for an even more unique taste. For those who may not have fresh ginger and garlic readily available, we’ll be adding ginger and garlic powder to the recipe as an alternative.

What to serve with jollof rice?

Jollof rice is the star of the meal and not just a mere side dish. It is commonly accompanied by protein options such as beef, chicken, goat, fish (in various cooking styles such as fried, grilled or in a stew), or eggs (boiled, fried or scrambled). In Nigeria, the dish is often served with a salad that has some similarities to a more flavorful version of coleslaw.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, this Vegetarian Jollof Rice recipe is a perfect blend of Nigerian and West African flavors. It’s vegan-friendly, cruelty-free, and a delicious meal option for everyone. The ingredients are easily accessible and can be substituted with other vegetables of your choice. Whether you serve it with Fried Plantain, Beef Stew or enjoy it alone, this dish will surely satisfy every taste bud.

So, impress your guests with this updated Vegan Jollof Rice recipe at your next party or make it for a weeknight dinner! With its flavorful ingredients and easy-to-follow steps, this is one recipe you wouldn’t want to miss out on. Plus, it’s an excellent way to incorporate healthier options into your diet without compromising on taste.

Try out this recipe and let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Don’t forget to share it with your loved ones too! Thank you for reading through this recipe article, and I hope you have fun making this delicious Vegetarian Jollof Rice dish!

Vegetarian Jollof Rice

Vegetarian Jollof Rice Recipe

A very tasty and healthy rice dish. It is a great one-dish meal.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine African
Calories 361.9 kcal


  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 10 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 (14 ounce) can chopped tomatoes (or use fresh)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon thyme
  • 1 lb brown rice
  • 4 cups vegetarian broth
  • 1 cup frozen green pea
  • cilantro (optional) or parsley (to garnish) (optional)


  • Make broth if using bouillion. (Bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Add bouillon and stir).
  • Simmer the onions, peppers, garlic and mushrooms in 1/2 cup of the broth to soften.
  • Stir in the carrots, tomatoes, spices, rice and remaining broth; bring to a boil and simmer 45 minutes, or until the rice is tender.
  • Just before serving, adjust the seasonings if needed, stir in the green peas and garnish with cilantro or parsley.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 253gCalories: 361.9kcalCarbohydrates: 75.5gProtein: 10.6gFat: 2.9gSaturated Fat: 0.6gSodium: 96.7mgFiber: 7.2gSugar: 9g
Keyword < 60 Mins, African, One-Dish Meal, Vegetable
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